Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chicken Mignon Recipe

As per my usual recipes on Skinny Budget this Chicken Mignon recipe will be no different in regards to affordability, easy to make and of course very delicious!

 

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast 500gms (I used 2 large chicken breasts)
Greased Muffin Tray
Butter
Garlic Salt
Rind-less Bacon Rashers
As usual, you can opt to change up the recipe for example; you might actually have garlic butter or want to use actual garlic gloves (crushed) in replacement of the garlic salt, any of these options is fine.



Method:

  •  Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (mine is fan forced)
  • While the oven is heating up, lightly grease a muffin tray (the larger type works best)
  • Being extremely cautious slice the chicken breasts (horizontally) into 2 halves, then sliced those halves again giving you 8 slices in total. I definitely recommend a sharp knife and a steady hand for this job.
  • As I don't have a mallet I used a potato masher to flatten each piece of breast, making sure they were all equal in thickness, this helps maintain each Mignon cooks evenly.
  •  Wrap each chicken breast with a piece of bacon and place standing upright into the muffin tray (see image below)

  • Do this until all the chicken breasts have been rolled with bacon rashers, and are in the muffin tray
  • Now for the garlic butter; I had about 25g of unsalted butter left over in the fridge so I zapped it in the microwave for 20 seconds and mixed it with half a teaspoon of garlic salt (you can add more or less depending on your preference). Mix the two well and allow to cool for a minute.


  • Apply the garlic butter to the top of each Chicken Mignon, aiming to have an equal portion of the butter on each one.

  • Cook for 35-45 minutes, depending on whether you want the bacon rashers crispy/ or what the thickness of your chicken breasts are.
I served my Chicken Mignon with some thick cut chips and they were loved by the family.
They are very simple to make, don't take much time or effort and honestly they are yummy!!

I see Chicken Mignon as something we would have once a month as the bacon and the butter aren't exactly a side salad to your diet but they are a nice meal to enjoy every now and then.



What do you think, will you give them a go? Do you have your own Chicken Mignon recipe that's different to this?

Feel free to share this recipe, you can 'Pin' this to Pinterest by clicking on the title of the post up the top and a pin it button should appear down the bottom :)

Until Next Time,


Monday, February 25, 2013

Becoming a Mum of 2

Please note this is simply my account on the transition from one child to two

The Age Gap

The age gap between my two babies is 43 months or just over 3.5 years. This age gap has proved perfect for us and our circumstances for a few reasons.

  • Lily is completely toilet trained and self sufficient with using the toilet
  • Lily is in pre-school 3 days a week, giving Jett and I time extra mummy/baby time and Lily has the opportunity to make friends with children her age
  • Lily is very independent when it comes to meal times (and just about everything else!)

 The Adjustment Period

Here's some quick tips I've learnt in the last 4 months:
  • If you don't already, start to meal plan. You can do it holding the baby (much, much easier when they're not squirming) or whilst they're in a bouncer/swinger/bassinet etc. It will save you so much hassle/money when it comes time to grocery shop. Also for those first few weeks after having the baby, look into getting your groceries delivered if your store offers this. For the first 1-3 weeks after bringing Jett home my meal plan saved my sanity, I knew what meat to get out and what we were going to have for each meal, it wasn't always perfect, we had 'cheap Tuesday' nights where we would get take away a few times, but overall having a basic plan of what you're going to eat will help..a lot!
  • If you'd like to get a little more organized or are scared you're going to lose grip on things such as finances etc. when the baby comes, then make a Family Planner, you can check out my post on this by clicking here. Having two small children to take care of is made SO much easier when you don't have to remember every little thing going on at once inside the house and out, a planner is like a really good friend who is there to help :)
  • Keep an inventory list. I didn't keep an eye on our 'stock pile' of nappies and wet wipes in the first few weeks, and got caught when changing Jett and realized I just used the last wet wipe we had. Keep a list of what you have, the amount and expiry dates (if relevant) it doesn't take very long to do, and it'll be much better then running out of needed items.
  • Lily hands me a nappy every now and then or helps pick out outfits for Jett to wear and I try to include her in most activities when it comes to looking after Jett, obviously keeping it 'age appropriate' but as long as Lily feels needed in the whole process of having a new baby, she doesn't feel her place in the family is 'threatened.'
  • Remember it is a small amount of time that a baby is a baby, things will fall to the side a little but you will make it through this period of time so take lots of pictures and remember to smile!!



What I expected vs The Reality

I was very young when I had Lily and I really didn't have any expectations on how she would be at all, but I was extremely lucky and won the baby jackpot with her as she really was such a laid back baby. She slept straight through the night at 3 months old, she transitioned from bassinet to cot without any trouble and she LOVED car rides.


All through my pregnancy with Jett I maintained in my head that this is how easy it would be all over again but I couldn't have been more wrong if I changed my name to Natasha Wrong. Jett had Colic for the first 2 months of his life and this threw everything in the air with how I thought it would be etc. I soon realized early that he was his own little person and shouldn't be compared to how Lily was.

In the way of routine, I knew that Jett wasn't going to just 'fall into line' in regards to a set schedule so I started writing down when he was napping, the times he'd be hungry and figured out from there a pattern. This allowed me to do the normal parts of my day such as showering, some laundry etc.and know exactly what Jett would be needing shortly.

Sanity. Saved...at least for now



 Jett's 3 Month Old Milestones

 


  • Jett is showing signs of teething (chewing on everything, making slobbery milk bubbles (a favorite thing of his to do)
  • He gets very frustrated when he cannot sit himself up, and as a result does a lot of ab crunches
  • He is extremely vocal and loves to 'coo' everyone in his sight
  • He LOVES to stand up (assisted of course but he has very strong legs)
  • Jett is now transitioning from bassinet to his 'big boy cot' which is definitely a process but he's doing really well.
I'm not sure if i've missed anything, but if you'd like to know anything else then please feel free to comment below :)

Make sure you check back tomorrow for my Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Mignon Recipe!

Until Next Time,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lunch Snack Station

Snack Stations are the new thing in our house! (Yes, this gets me a little excited to share..)
Luke has just started shift work and Lily is starting preschool on Monday so right now, my lunch making skills need to be up to scratch more then ever.

I looked around at how other organized mums get their family lunches ready and this is when I came across snack stations, and whilst they're not at all a new concept, they're a great and time efficient way to tackle lunch time.


I use 3 trays in total, 1 for each of us (except Jett of course.) Coles have plastic trays (pictured below) for $2 so I just grabbed 2 of those (then remembered I needed a 3rd...)




Below is a quick view of our pantry at current. I have it in order of meals; breakfast, snack station, dinner, dessert shelf. This eliminates looking for items early in the morning, or late at night.



I look at my calendar and see what days Luke and Lily are both needing lunches for work/school as opposed to when they'll both be home, then I make sure I have enough snacks in both their station.
I'm still in the introductory stage of the snack station, but I am trying to find a good balance of nutritious and time efficient snacks.


I have two snack stations; one for the pantry and the other in the fridge. I keep apples, carrots, grapes etc. in the fridge area. I slice the apples and carrots and keep them in zip-lock bags for easy access. At the moment for Lily's station I keep noodle snacks, rice treats, fruit bars etc. Just little snacks to go along with her fruit and sandwich.

I really recommend giving this system a try if you're not using it already. Lily LOVES feeling so involved when she gets to choose her snacks for the next days lunch, and I love the convenience it gives me at night when making the lunches.

Let's talk lunches! Do you have any sort of preparation you do? Do you mix up your lunches or keep it the same during the week? 

If you want to add any of Skinny Budget's posts onto Pinterest, just click the post title, then scroll down to the bottom of the post and you'll see the pin it button. Click away :)

Until Next Time,



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Meal Planning 101

Recently it came to my attention whilst looking through bank statements (online, of course) that we were spending WAY over the budgeted amount on groceries. I mean ...WAY over. So I thought there was no better time then now to revise our 'planning method' as clearly our current one has been failing us.

I keep a binder friendly-plastic sleeve system in my Family Planner which holds all my Meal Planning 'tools'. Since my budget and actual spending's are not matching up, I thought it was time to revise my tools and make sure every template I have, is there for a reason.

Food Preference Chart
Recipes Section
Menu Planner
Inventory Lists

The Food Preference Chart acts as a 'favorites' list for my family meals, with the recipe section holding recipes that we don't generally eat as often as we do say, spaghetti bolognese. My Menu Planner and Inventory Lists go hand in hand as they are both great tools, I just needed to refine them and make them both more applicable to our family needs. Along the way of trialling new recipes we have discovered foods that we all do not like, and would rather not try again, and of course there are recipes we all absolutely love.

So I don't have to try and recall if a recipe falls into the love or loath category, the food prefernce chart becomes very handy. I have also made up a simple Menu Plan using Microsoft Excel, which you can download your very own copy (it's free, no strings!!) by clicking here. My Fiance Luke does shift work and our daughter Lily is just about to start preschool, so I needed to accommodate for these circumstances in our grocery shop.

Below is an image of what the free download looks like :)

I keep an inventory list of; the pantry, fridge/freezer, bathroom and laundry which saves me even more time when it comes to making a grocery list as I can quickly refer back to my lists. This not only saves time, but eliminates the chance of me re-purchasing an item that I might already have 5 of.

You can download your free copy of my pantry inventory by clicking here.

If you're wanting to meal plan but thinking, okay..how do I start... then a good place to begin is by writing down on a piece of paper your staple items for each inventory, items that you reach for all the time and would hate to run out of. Here's an example:

Fridge Staples: Milk, Margarine/Butter Spread, Cheese & Eggs
Freezer Staples: Beef Mince, Chicken Breasts
Pantry Staples: Cereal, Bread, Tomato Sauce, Sugar, Dishwasher Tablets
Laundry Staples: Detergent
Bathroom Staples: Toilet Paper, Hand Detergent, Shampoo/Conditioner, Body Soap

You get the point. Start with all the items you love having (like toilet paper!) this gives you at least a starting point. From there you can work on your menu planner, then your grocery list, knowing the food/items you already have are going to be used and not left to waste, and the items that you're purchasing during your shop will be needed and not fall into the 'impulse purchase' category.


The books I refer to are:

Healthy Family, Happy Family by Karen Fischer
The Australian Women's Weekly fresh food for babies & toddlers
The Family Kitchen; Healthy Fast Food

All 3 of these books were purchased from my local Coles Supermarket.

It's often when we only need 1-2 items from the Supermarket that we come back with much less money in our wallets than expected due to the lack of self control when it comes to impulse purchasing. I'm rather annoyed and shocked at just how much we have gone over budget this year on just groceries alone, we should have a pantry that rivals those seen on Extreme Couponing at this point!

It is from this point forward that I am stepping up my Meal Planning and vow to only have takeaway 1-2 times (maximum) a fortnight! I pledge to use more self control with sales at the supermarket! Better preparation will help eliminate all these random trips to our supermarket!

I'd love to hear from you! Let me know how you go about saving money at the checkouts, do you meal plan? If you do, on what basis? Weekly, Fortnightly..Monthly? Feel free to share this with your friends/ family if you found it helpful, I've also added the option to 'Pin' posts to Pinterest now so hopefully that helps a lot more people also :)

Until Next Time,



Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY Family Planner/ Time Management Binder

 

 This is the updated version of our Family Planner/Organizer (also known as a Time Management Binder.) I did some purging and re-arranging of the contents as I started to notice whole sections of the planner that I wasn't using or just weren't helping me stay organized.

If you want to see the previous and more 'planned' planner then just click the link above or right here

Sections I still use in the planner are as follows:

 

Routine: This holds my cleaning (daily, weekly and once monthly) schedule, my day-to-day schedule etc in this section.
Finances: I took note of what pages do work for me and what don't. Then put them in a pull out compartment of this planner.
Contacts: From the doctor/vet to our family and friends, they're all backed up in this section.
Menu Planning: Menu plans, shopping list, favorite recipes, most rated recipes with the family
Blog Ideas   
 


I put my letter stickers to good use this time :)


I like to have a perpetual calendar at the front of my planner, just being able to see the whole year ahead on one page makes planning events/paying bills a whole lot easier. I don't remember where I got this free template from :( but if you are the owner and want me to link it just leave me a comment.


The coloured tabs before I cut them off
I have a colour legend up the top left on the inside of the planner letting me know what each coloured tab on the binder is for, the tabs are too small to put labels on and I wasn't able to see them when they were on the side of the dividers, so I cut them off and stuck them with some sticky tape up the top for easier viewing.

 

I keep a few paperclips on the inside plastic sleeve area provided, for when I am transferring paper work from the planner to my filing system, they come in very handy!

I had personal information in this section, hence why the paper is blocking any writing.


 I have a purple and a green pull-out, plastic sleeve 'booklet' one is for Menu Planning and the other is for Finances. I got the above menu planning printout from a site called Mrs January. There are some great printouts on the site, I'd definitely recommend having a look!

Menu Planning saves time, money and you stressing about what you're going to cook for dinner at the end of the day. It's also a great help if you want to start eating more at home. If you ever want tips or just some quick advice on how to get started just let me know in the comments :)


I keep some loose notepaper in my 'Schedule' section so I can quickly write down little reminders or notes to help me through the day. It could be a reminder to buy milk or pay a bill, then at the end of the day I put all the relevant information into my Day Planner.


I keep some scrap cardboard/paper stock in the back sleeve of my folder as I am always doing some form of craft project so they do come in handy.

Total Cost= $17!! That's if you don't already have a binder laying around :)

 Making one of these truly is inexpensive! Remember it's not about how pretty it is, it's about how functional it is for you and your family! You can jazz it up to suit your style and needs :)

The great thing about this type of family planner is that it's always changeable, so if you welcome a new family member, are planning a wedding, have kids starting school, get a new pet etc etc then you can just add new sections in!

If you have use a time management binder/family planner and want to share it then just leave a link below :)

Until Next Time


Friday, February 8, 2013

Drugstore Brand Makeover




I was in a rut! A big poofey-orange-tinged hair rut!
Equipped with $40 of the $50 budget I have monthly (see that post here) I went to Coles to see what I could do about this rut. Here's how it all went down:

Before:

 I've been growing out my 'less then averagely okay' hair for 2.5 years since I decided to D.I.Y Ombre it back in 2011 (not one of my best decisions) and slowly I've been trimming the tips of my hair as it grows trying to inevitably rid it of all the remaining orange. After 2 years of doing so however, and still having so much orange remaining..I was completely over it and hence..the hair dye.



My purchases (all on special!)


2 packets of Clairol Nice'n Easy in Shade: 121A Darkest Natural Brown $9
Rimmel London BB Cream $9.95
Volum'Express: The Falsies $13.95

After:


I Googled (foolishly after dying my hair) reviews on the hair colour I used, and SO many people were freaking out commenting that particular colour from Clairol has a tendency to make brown hair black and not darkest brown as shown on the box. Some noted the colour faded to a dark brown after a few days, others weren't so lucky and still have black hair.

The ends of my hair are definitely black, the rest seemingly darkest brown/really pushing it not being black but I'm honestly not worried. I kind of like this 'accidental' hair tone. I will keep you posted on whether or not this colour fades :)

Now for the Makeup:

I applied my new BB cream by Rimmel London (in shade Light) all over. I hadn't tried a BB cream before this, but since it's being hailed a 'miracle/multi tasker' I thought heck I better get onto that bandwagon!! Well, I have a blemish on my chin at the moment and this may shock you but I don't get a great deal of sleep most nights, and the coverage wasn't all that great at 'concealing' these shocking truths!! (Sarcasm is heavily implied) but all in all it was easy to apply and didn't leave me feeling oily, even after 10 hours of wear, it held up beautifully so I was really impressed :)



 I applied some $3 Kmart Blusher, more then I usually would to the apples of my cheeks, as it takes a little more then normal for it to show up in photos and I went to get my drivers license changed over today. I also filled in my eyebrows using my trio colour Coral palette in shade darkest brown, I only started doing this mid way through last year but it really can take you from 'patchy brow lady' to 'not looking half bad ;)


Onto the Hair! I just recently purchased the Garnier Fructis Flat Iron Heat Defence Spray and I love it!! It smells great, it applies great... I might just do a review on all these drugstore products in another post.
After misting the spray, I sectioned my hair and began straightening my locks


 30 Minutes Later!! I really don't like 'Poker' Straight hair on myself personally as I just don't think it looks all that flattering not that my usual poofey hair does either..., so I flick out the face framing areas of hair with my flat iron to break up the 'poker' look. **At this point I remembered to apply my new mascara...and I'm not sure if it was just a bad one but it was super clunky and gave me 'spider leg' lashes! blah!


OOOOOHHHHH Yeah! 
Haha!! Sorry but by this point I was getting bored in the bathroom


Now for some 'girly' pictures of my new locks/ makeup

 


And of course with my trademark glasses (which of course are critical to me seeing my new hair.)


Well that's enough photos of me (for now) so I'm off to stroke my new hair some more while I also attempt some progress on my wedding planning. Maybe you're day is going more productively! If it's not...then I'm sending you all the best wishes for the rest of your day ;)

Until Next Time,







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